Burning smell from outlet

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Yes, glad you have a licensed electrician involved.
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Christopher A. Young
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As I see that you have gotten an electrician involved, you probably don't need this info. But I thought that I would post in case there are others out there with the same or a similar situation.
The concept of pigtailing is a recommended strategy for all connections behind devices. IE. black to black with a short length to the device connected with a wire nut. Same for whites and grounds.
NOTE: There are different configurations for connections behind switches and light fixture boxes.
When dealing with aluminum wiring "AL" the manufacturers have designed receptacles, switches, etc. to properly handle connections without oxidizing. Oxidization looks like a powdery substance on the surface of the wire (much like rust on a metal object). Electricity doesn't flow through this oxidization well, and causes heat.
To avoid this, always use devices rated for AL wire and when connecting the wires with wire nuts use wirenuts rated for aluminum.
If you are pigtailing, you can use Copper Wire for the pigtail (which allows you to connect to devices rated for copper only). However, the connections at the pigtail need to be protected by a product call anti-oxidant - Penetrox and No-Alox or the 2 most popular in my area. This is available at most hardware stores and should be at all electrical suppliers.
Remember, that when making these splices, use wirenuts rated for aluminum "AL" wiring only. Fill the wirenut about 3/4 full with anti-oxidant paste and then put onto wire being connected. If after the wirenut is installed, there are any bits of exposed wire visible not covered in anti-oxidant then put more into the cap to cover.
For those without much experience with wiring, consult with a qualified electrician to ensure that this is being done in a safe manner. The big box stores usually have a couple on staff to answer questions, so don't be afraid to ask, they are there to help.
Remember Also, always turn off the breaker prior to working on electrical circuits and test to make sure that the power has indeed been turned off before proceeding with any such work.
I hope this information helps and if anyone has questions, please forward me an email, and I can try to help.
Play Safe!
Glen
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snipped-for-privacy@ExpressQuoteOnline.com wrote:
As noted in another post, the most reliable info I have seen on aluminum wiring fixes is at http://www.inspect-ny.com/aluminum/alreduce.htm As noted it is a "paper" based on on extensive research done for the CPSC.

Of the possible fixes for aluminum wire, if I had aluminum I would probably use pigtails also. But the research indicated that if not done properly pigtailing can increase problems.

Aluminum is a very reactive material. Clean aluminum will almost immediately form an oxide layer - which is clear (invisible). That is what keeps the aluminum surface shiny. The oxide will be there unless removed and oxygen contact is prevented. Aluminum oxide is an insulator - electricity won't flow through it at all. Resistance is increased by reducing metal-to-metal contact area. Basic to the fixes in the "paper" is applying antioxide paste to the wire and then abrading it to remove the oxide.
(Connections to large aluminum wire are reliable when done properly. Recently I saw instructions from Ilsco, a major lug manufacturer, to wire brush the wire (to remove oxide) when making a connection. I have not looked at other manufacturers. But because connections to large conductors deform the wire they can break through the oxide.)

Far as I know only one wirenut - Ideal #65 - has been listed for use with aluminum wires since the "new technology" about 1972. It appears to be a standard wirenut with antioxide paste in it. The research for the CPSC indicated this wirenut is no more reliable that other wirenuts used with antioxide paste. The "paper" specifically does not like these wire nuts because both the antioxide paste and the plastic shell of the wirenut will burn. Specific brands are recommended in the "paper".

Research showed that wirenut connections made acording to manufacturers recomendatioins and induatry standards can fail, hence the specific installation recomendations. Failure can be from the existing oxide on the wire. When the connection is made, the oxide may prevent most/all wire-to-wire contact. The steel spring on the wirenut, however, cuts through the wirenut and makes contact. A high percentage, or all, of the current may take the path through just a few coils of the spring. The spring, made of steel, can become red hot causing failure of the conection, ignition of the paste or shell and a fire. There is a multi screen slide show including this at http://www.inspect-ny.com/aluminum/pl2p2.htm

Note that electricians don't necessarily know much about aluminum branch circuit problems and their fixes and are unlikely to know of research on the problem.

Geez - why take away all the fun?

bud--
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From that picture, looks a LOT like aluminum wiring. Call an electrician.
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Christopher A. Young
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